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2023 Abstracts Stage 3

Patriotism and Whether It is Beneficial to British Society

This project explores patriotism and nationalism and whether it is beneficial to a society, with a specific interest in Britain. The object I use to begin to talk about patriotism is the novel Journey to the End of the Night by French author Louis-Ferdinand Céline which is based on his experiences during the First World War. He is very anti-patriotic, viewing patriotism as meaningless and not something worth supporting. I look at the similarities and differences between patriotism and nationalism, then explore both concepts philosophically mainly using the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Simon Keller, and Stephen Nathanson. I then look at the history of patriotism in Britain from during the World Wars and after, understanding the role of the right-wing, mass media, and the effects it has had on the left and working classes. Following this I turn to the modern day, reviewing data collected on support of patriotism in Britain, how it less common amongst the youth, and how a growing dissatisfaction for the government shapes this. I come to the conclusion that people would want the ability to be patriotic, to be proud of the country to which they belong, but how patriots act needs change.

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2023 Abstracts Stage 3

The Primordial Wanderers: An Antidote to Nihilism

The project explores how nihilism is an inevitability that emerges out of Schopenahuer’s pessimistic worldview and Nietzsche’s death of God. The project makes the case that by examining the night sky’s historical significance to humankind, we can affirm our lives through its wonder. More specifically, we can affirm our lives and all existence through the night sky’s primordial wonder, which corresponds to Nietzsche’s abandonment of Wagner’s tragic music drama in The Birth of Tragedy.

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2023 Abstracts Stage 3

Subverting Expectation: Analysing, evaluating and applying Nietzsche’s concept of the as Übermensch as Challenge to Morality  

The question of how to live is an area of great contestation for humanity. Nietzsche, in disavowing morality of the Christian world, saw the higher kind of human, the Übermensch, as the only way to affirm ourselves, following the disbelief in God. Applying the concept of the Übermensch to other literary figures like Achebe’s Okonkwo and Camus’ Meursault, as well as looking at Han’s diagnosis of the contemporary times, I assess how well a guide Nietzsche’s Übermensch serves, both now and then.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

The identity of the Student during the COVID-19 pandemic

This project aims to investigate the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the development of the identities of university students, looking at the impact that the removal of social influences has had on identity formation during such a critical time of personal growth. Using the philosophies of Charles Taylor and Friedrich Nietzsche to support my investigation, I will look at whether Taylor’s quote ‘one cannot be a self on one’s own’ (Taylor, 1989, pg.36) is shown to be true as a result of lockdowns and subsequent isolation, or whether COVID-19 provided students with a chance to embrace Nietzsche’s heroic individualism and create a stronger sense of self.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Third Time’s a Charm: Reconciling Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence and Freud’s Repetition Compulsion in the Context of Nonlinear Time Within Film

Third Time’s a Charm: Reconciling Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence and Freud’s Repetition Compulsion in the Context of Nonlinear Time Within Film.

OBJECT: Time loops, nonlinear time and repetition
CONCEPTS: Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence of the same
CONTEXT: Ethical (using eternal recurrence as a thought experiment), Psychoanalysis.

In this project I am looking to apply the Nietzschean approach to ressentiment (of amor fati!) to Freud’s repetition compulsion as a means of working through trauma. Through this I will be looking to reconcile aspects of Freud and Nietzsche’s writing through a framework of film, taking inspiration from the way in which Nietzsche uses metaphor to present eternal recurrence and linking this to representation within the scene of transference. I will be owing the popularity of nonlinear time within fiction to this repetition compulsion and ultimately, the death drive, hoping to unravel elements of the ethical within repetition compulsion.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Meaning through Silence: A Reading of how John Cage and British Quakers view silence, through the framework of Nietzschean moral philosophy.

My aim through this text is to create a reading of how silence is used and understood by John Cage and British Quakerism, through the lens of Nietzschean moral philosophy – particularly that of Nietzsche’s ‘On the Genealogy of Morality’.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Exploring the potentially harmful implications of the censorship of thought and speech for politics and philosophy.

The societies we consider free also appear unable to resolve the free speech question. I attempt, in this project, to examine the type of speech we consider valuable, and our motives for doing so; whilst also hoping to point out a number of institutions that, for their very telos, heavily restrict the expression of individuals. I discuss the nature of the truth itself, and the value in it, whilst also arguing latterly against the Platonic ‘logos’, in favour of a Nietzschean perspectivism. The project hopes, too, to highlight and add to the discourse around ideological conformity in the 21st century.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Life affirmation and life denial: Nietzsche on Christianity.

My project dissertation focuses of a life-denying reading of Christianity. I argue, using a historical background provided by John Robertson, that early Christianity grew from the exploitation of the weak and continues to feed off inequality to this day.
Readings of Nietzsche’s primary literature details the values cultivated by Christian morality, those of ressentiment and the ascetic ideal, arguing that they stunt human being’s natural drive for the fullest possible life and negates our instincts for pleasure, growth, and development. Secondary reading provided by Deleuze helps rework Nietzsche’s argument, providing an understanding Nietzsche’s famous theory will to power, which I then consider in relation to the life-denying power of Christianity. Brain Leiter also tackles Nietzsche’s ideas of a higher man, allowing for a more critical reading which I explore and build on.
The life-denying values which prompted Christianity’s growth into a worldwide religion are perhaps best criticised in Nietzsche’s works, and I will argue that as Christianity has expanded, these values that have permeated the political and social space, must be understood and challenged.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

The persistence of history, as explored through Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

This project explores the persistent hold of history on the present, with
Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle being used as an example of this phenomenon. The hold of the Second World War in the novel is shown to have a significant effect on the present for the characters, as it has for Japan as a nation. Philosophical ideas are taken from Hegel, Nietzsche, Derrida and Fisher. Through Hegel, a philosophy of history is discussed, with the progression of history as a result of spirit realising its freedom. Both Nietzsche’s Apollolian and Dionysian states are explored, as well as his concept of the eternal return. Derrida’s notion of hauntology is used to show how the past can haunt the present, with Fisher being used to further explore this, with our inability to retain memories of the present leading us to hold onto historical memories. The symbol of the wind-up bird itself is used to show how the hold of history is depicted by Murakami, with the wind-up bird signalling the machinery of history, yet also being a role for those who must wind the springs of time. This project explores how individuals, like those in the novel, could respond to this hold of history, with the individual choice of embracing history, and its prophecy-like role, or succumbing to fatalist doom.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Using Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being, Evaluate Nietzsche’s Concept of Eternal Recurrence.

This project analyses the value of Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence, using Kundera’s novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” as a contextual foundation. I argue that Kundera’s work highlights the problems that arise from not accepting one’s fate, failing to comprehend the immutable nature of the past, and refusing to recognise that suffering is an inevitable part of life. By using Nietzsche’s doctrine of eternal recurrence as a psychological tool, individuals can learn to appreciate both the positive and negative aspects of existence. I contend that although criticisms, such as Karl Löwith’s, demonstrate some weaknesses, ultimately Nietzsche’s eternal return is a valuable doctrine that may act as a possible solution to the burden of existential weight.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

The Historical Progression of Superman

This project is on the historical progression of Superman the DC Comics character and how messianic themes have been built into his character. Superman is an 85 year old comic book superhero and has changed drastically since his original inception. If one looks into this progression, one can see from the very outset throughout the 20th into the 21st century, Superman has been portrayed as a messiah, and concepts of messianism and divinity are also what has drawn audiences across the world to the Man of Tomorrow. Using thinkers such as Thomas Carlyle, Friedrich Nietzsche and Ernst Bloch, I will demonstrate these ideas.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

A philosophical investigation into the enforcement of the veil in The Islamic Republic of Iran.

On September 16, 2022, 22 year old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini died in police custody in Tehran, Iran’s capital, following her arrest for wearing her veil incorrectly. She died as a result of the strict enforcement of the veil in The Islamic Republic of Iran, a law which has been in effect since 1983. In this dissertation I conduct a genealogy of the veil in order to understand its development as a moral phenomenon, following the genealogical methodology employed by Friedrich Nietzsche in On the Genealogy of Morality. I examine the relationship between modesty, hair and sexuality in order to determine why the veil is so highly valued in Iran. I adopt Nietzsche’s theory of perspectivism in order to overcome the Western misconception that the veil is necessarily oppressive, and instead argue that it is the Iranian veiling laws which are oppressive. I then analyse Edward Said’s Orientalism, focusing on the ways in which the West has represented the East according to Said, and the implications of Orientalism for Western perceptions of the veil. I suggest the adoption of a postcolonial feminist attitude in order to redefine the problem in Iran as a feminist problem, not a religious one.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Voices of the Pandemic: Consensus and Conflict in Attitudes towards COVID-19 Restrictions and the relation to the views of Karl Popper and Fredrich Nietzsche.

The recent and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown a clear display of the attitudes and values some of society withhold in response to the restrictions and guidelines put in place to protect the larger community. While there is constant conflict between opinions on these restrictions, one thing that the debate almost always comes back to is the question of freedom and freewill, and whether enforced mandates are a violation of this or a commitment to the greater good regardless of sacrifice. Current events present this question; however, this discussion is not new and has been debated throughout history by many philosophers, but speakers Karl Popper and Fredrich Nietzsche present particularly appealing arguments that can be applied to both the conversation regarding the lack of freewill in this modern pandemic and in the past with reference to morality and religion. Furthermore, the debate of the validity of the proof behind the reasoning for the COVID-19 restrictions is constantly argued, often from two uncompromising parties, one that sides heavily with the scientifically backed restrictions and the other who completely disagrees with the evidence and its validity. The heavily discussed philosophical concepts of rationalism, empiricism and relativism can be applied to this argument to analyse each viewpoint and provide an insight on how philosophers like Popper and Nietzsche would approach the argument based on their philosophical beliefs and views of the above concepts. With this project being heavily based on the differing viewpoints of the community during the pandemic and linking this to different philosophical concepts based in several different fields: rationality, focusing on the subject’s personal beliefs; empiricism, focusing on scientific, verifiable truth; and relativism, focusing on the subjects moral and religious beliefs.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Death, Beauty and Scandal : A philosophical investigation into the relationship between artists, their work and the consumer

In the contemporary world, which values accountability and justice, can we hold to esteem the art of individuals who have lived morally reprehensible lives?
Artists and their art are one, inseparable entity. The intentional act of creating art is to put an illusory part of oneself into the world, as in line with the philosophy of Nietzsche.
The feral Dionysian characteristic of artists has long been used to excuse morally reprehensible behaviour. However, due to the changing status of artists from remote, struggling characters into celebrities who are part of an elite world, artists are being held to a much higher standard of morals.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

On Sympathy: Animal Ethics after the Death of God

Animal rights are commonly understood as the rights of non-human animals to live freely from human interference and exploitation. These rights are, however, frequently violated by industries which use non-human animals to create products such as food, clothing, and cosmetics – regardless of the suffering caused to the individuals involved.

It is the purpose of my project to explore the human being’s inability to sympathise with this suffering, arguing that this inability has originated in Christian doctrine and philosophy, and can only be overcome after the death of God.

This project draws upon work from a variety of thinkers – including David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Charles Darwin, Lawrence J. Hatab, Peter Singer and Gary Steiner – to investigate the role of sympathy in the creation of moral values and the Christian narrative of human dominion.

Such discussion entails a revaluation of both our moral values and the value we place on our species, concluding that the advent of nihilism in the West creates an opportunity to recognise our shared kinship with all sentient creatures, and therefore our need to sympathise with them.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Beyond Educational Institution: A Philosophical Investigation of The Concept of Genius

Aims:
This project aims to explore the concept of genius, in relation to education, to make a distinction between an educated and an exception. It will look at education and determine its impact that it has on individuals. And it will, lastly, attempt to address the question of what it means to be a genius and the possibility of becoming one.

Object: The concept of genius

Territory: Education defined as institution

Concepts:
Nietzsche’s Noble and Slave Morality
Rousseau’s General Will and The Role of The Legislator
Kierkegaard’s Despair and The Self

Sources:
Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals
Rousseau’s The Social Contract
Kierkegaard’s The Sickness unto Death

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Can Music Be Transgressive?

An application of Nietzschean and Bataillean philosophy to the music of Lana del Rey and The Stooges, in order to investigate whether music has the capacity to be transgressive. Specific use of Nietzsche’s concepts of the Apolline and Dionysiac with Bataille’s philosophy of transgression which includes erotism and expenditure.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

I Will to Survive: Self-preservation and its practical application

I Will Survive: Self-preservation and its practical application

Self-Preservation is a force endowed to all organic beings. Its innate nature means it is inescapable, leading to it being a definite presence among action in the world. As a concept it has been subject to interpretations, and my own will supplemented by Schopenhauer, Nietzche and Darwinism. Within the project I will attempt to offer a comprehensive story of the practical application, to understand how the will developed and changed in its environment. Within the project I wrestled with questions such as:

“Who runs the world?”

“Why did modern countries develop the way they did?”

“How do we fix societies for the better”?

My analysis began with ancient history, where self-preservation showcased itself in establishing systems of hierarchy as extension of the will’s desire to dominate. Following on from this I focused on Western society and how self-preservation inspired the actions of imperialism. Next, I explained how self-preservation transitioned into neo-liberalism as well as the resulting disguise from the new environment. Finally, I presented potential solutions to the harmful effects of self-perseveration that I encountered within the project.

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2020 Abstracts Stage 2

Reading the Psychological Implications of Brutalist Architecture through J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise

This paper intends to question the extent to which brutalist architecture produces negative environments through their adverse psychological impact on those who inhabit them. Equally, it will explore how such environments can be overcome. The object these aims will centre around is J.G. Ballard’s novel High-Rise, a dystopian narrative that critiques the modernist tower block, by providing a hyperbolic account of the potential ramifications it can have on the human mind. This paper intends to question the extent to which brutalist architecture produces negative environments through their adverse psychological impact on those who inhabit them. Equally, it will explore how such environments can be overcome. The object these aims will centre around is J.G. Ballard’s novel High-Rise, a dystopian narrative that critiques the modernist tower block, by providing a hyperbolic account of the potential ramifications it can have on the human mind.The consideration of how negative environments can be overcome will draw on the positive elements of Deleuze’s Nietzsche – his concept of the eternal return and the Overman – and Debord’s psychogeography. These concepts are examined to explore the extent which they can be used as remedial to the negative implications of an environment.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Can agents be considered accountable for their actions when following the orders of an authoritative figure?

This project discusses the impact of authority on moral responsibility, and whether the autonomy and free will of an agent is required in order to enforce responsibility and punishment.

While Nietzsche sceptically denounced the genealogy of morality as an institution which instils guilt and punishment, he relented to admit that despite its insufferable origins, morality is nevertheless invaluable in understanding cultures and ideologies. The doctrines of John Martin Fischer conversely maintained the position that an agent must necessarily be morally responsible for the actions they committed, even under circumstances wherein the agent may feel as though their judgement was clouded by the coercive force of an authoritative figure, which made it seem as though the actions were not the agent’s own.

Nevertheless, it has been recognised in case studies spanning over the last 100 years, such as The Nuremberg Trials of 1945-46, the 1963 Milgram Behavioural Study of Obedience and the 1971 Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment, that there is always an alternative possibility to the course of action taken by an agent, and that the action is always necessarily an agent’s own. In such case studies which discuss the impact of authority, other questions have been raised as to whether passivity in these examples is the true evil, or whether there lies within mankind an innate capacity for evil and sinister acts which inflict harm upon his fellow man.